You are fortunate and can afford a new computer. Windows 11 is coming out on all the new computers and you want one. Just like me. (As far as wanting a new computer maybe, but not wanting to afford one.) You want to give your computer to someone else to use and enjoy. It works well and has not let you down. This is a good thing and please feel free to give, trade, sell your computer to a new home. Someone will really appreciate it.

But what should you do before you release your previously trusty computer into the wild? Well, there are a couple of things to do. The choice depends on who your computer is going to. Is it going to a friend, stranger, the government … who?

First, let us say a friend you trust. You will still need to delete all of your personal information. Start by backing up your documents and data you need to the cloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, or a thumb drive, external drive, etc. Then, go about checking your applications and see if you have to deactivate any of them. For instance, if you have iTunes on your computer, you should deactivate it first. They will only allow you so many active installations so you want to remove your activations to be able to use it later on your new system. Not a tremendous amount of applications need to be deactivated; however, some of your applications may require a license or key to use on another computer. You may need to record the license numbers to reuse them later on your new PC. Make sure you check all of them out and make sure.

Now you can remove your data and applications. An easy way to do it is to type “Reset this PC” after clicking the Windows start button. You can choose to remove all of your programs and files but leave the Windows operating system for the new owner. This is a fine way to run it for a friend. However, is this legal? Depending on what and where you read it, this may be legal or illegal. The operating system, say Windows 10, according to some, may not be able to transfer to other owners as it is yours. Some say that you can give it away with your computer. I really do not know but I have given several out with my apps and data removed but Windows still installed. Gee, I just wrote that now I may be arrested. But I think not.

So, what if you are giving it to a stranger where unknown people or bad guys may get your computer. Or … the government … to track what you do and where you have been. Well, OK, if you are that important to the government, maybe you should worry more about other things. But there is a way to totally wipe your PC when you are done with it.

There is an app called DBAN, which stands for Darik’s Boot And Nuke, named by the creator, Darik Horn. You may download this at “dban.org” and get instructions on how to use it. I will not give those here since they are already written well there. Once you run it, not even the government will be able to retrieve your data from your old computer. Well, OK, they might, but if you are that worried that fire a few shotgun shots at the hard drive. Of course, do you really need all of that security? That is your call, not mine. But I will say that after several decades in the IT industry I have never felt the need for that much security, but I may be wrong, just not yet.

Do what you want, but it is fantastic to give away your computer to others that need one. They could really use it and you may be more blessed … so just do it.

Contact Ron Doyle at GrayHaired.Tech.

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